Mr Toad’s is one amazing trail set in the Tahoe Basin and rising up the Carson Range to around 9500ft. The big attraction is the seriously technical downhill of Saxon Creek aka Mr Toad’s but this comes at a cost, as any experience MTBer will know, after a serious amount of aerobic pain getting to the top. This must be one of the hardest rides I have done and at altitude too, but it is also one of the most fun. It seems to go on for ever through boulder strewn single track with swooping berms. If you want a challenge then this is the trail for you, but make sure you take enough water and energy bars you’ll need it!!
The best map for the area is “The Tahoe Basin Trail Map” for $9.99. This lists the major MTB trails in the area, Mr Toad’s being situated towards the South of Lake Tahoe. There are couple of options when doing this trail. The one described below is the hard one!! Some use two cars to reduce the climbing but they are just whimps. I have to say that ‘cos we didn’t even consider it and should have!!
1. Driving south from South Lake Tahoe past the airport on the 89/50 towards Meyers. Turn left on the 50 just before Meyers and then turn right onto Oneidas and Fountain Place Road. After about 0.75 miles park the car on the right in a tarmaced car park. The trail finishes just behind this.
2. Ride up the tarmaced road for about 4 miles. This is the worst part of the ride. Keep going until the road runs out. You will see the barriers in front of you. Go up towards these and turn right onto the single track here.
3. Climb, climb, climb!! Proceed up the Armstrong Pass for about another 4 miles to 8,700ft where the Tahoe Rim trail (TRT) crosses. Take the immediate right on the TRT which is way marked. The map looks as though the trail follows the contours but I can assure you that you are still climbing!
4. Turn right at Tucker Flats and carry on for 2 miles until you hit the post marked Saxon Creek trail. This is the start of Mr Toad’s. Enjoy!!
5. The trail is a no brainer from now on and leads out to where you parked the car.
It should be noted that there are other options to access this trail from the 89 on Warr Trail or further on past Big Meadow where the trail hits the 89 at Grass Lake. These are easier options involving less climbing but will require two cars. The map suggested gives clear details of the options.
Driving south from South Lake Tahoe past the airport on the 89/50 towards Meyers. Turn left on the 50 just before Meyers and then turn right onto Oneidas and Fountain Place Road. After about 0.75 miles park the car on the right in a tarmaced car park. The trail finishes just behind this.
When to Bike
The best time is in late spring through summer to early autumn. This is a big ski area and at altitude so I suppose it is obvious!! Using the trail guide here will mean some high altitude climbing in hot conditions if done in summer. It is important that you take enough provisions, especially water.